tv 2000 White House Correspondents Dinner CSPAN April 19, 2015 12:00am-12:21am EDT
[laughter] the fundamental protection that says those rights not given to the federal government are reserved to the state and to the people. [applause] that means there are core areas given to our federal government to need to do and do well. protect this country, stand with the military, secure our borders. there are other areas where the federal government has no business sticking its nose. areas like education. and we need to repeal every word of common core. [applause] but the third and critical piece to reigniting the promise of america is restoring america's leadership in the world. and i want to take a few minutes
areas like education. and we need to repeal every word of common core. focusing on this issue in particular. on the foreign policy and national security threats facing this country. on friday, i was honored to be down at fort hood, where finally , finally, finally, after more than five years, purple hearts were awarded to the soldiers who were shot by nadal hassan. [applause] senator cruz: over five years ago, he committed that terrorist act. and yet for this entire time they have been denied the purple hearts they were owed because the obama administration characterized that attack as quote, workplace violence. i will tell you one of the things i'm most proud of is last year in the united states senate, i introduced legislation mandating that those soldiers finally received the purple heart to which they were due.
[applause] senator cruz: we were able to win bipartisan support, bring together every republican and every democrat on the senate armed services committee in support of my amendment. we passed it unanimously over the objections of the obama pentagon, and in december it became law, which is why on friday five years too late they were finally recognized for their heroism and bravery. [applause] senator cruz: at the ceremony over and over again as i looked at young soldiers, the sentiment i expressed to each of them was, i'm sorry. i'm sorry this took five years. i'm sorry the government -- and by the way, nadal hassan was in communications with a known radical islamic terrorist and cleric, asking about the permissibility of waging jihad
on his fellow soldiers, when hassan walked through fort hood, murdering 14 innocent souls, including an unborn child, he yelled out [indiscernible] as he did. and yet in the administration's eyes, they could not acknowledge this was radical islamic terrorism. if we want to turn things around, if we want to restore american leadership in the world, the first thing we have got to do is tell the truth. [applause] senator cruz: you cannot defeat radical islamic terrorism with a president and administration unwilling to enter -- utter the words radical islamic terrorism. you know, we all remember in paris just a few months ago the horrible terrorist attack that occurred there. that the president referred to as a quote, random act of violence.
there is nothing random when radical islamists with butcher knives go into a kosher deli seeking to murder jews because of their jewish faith. it is a naked act of anti-semitism. and it is inexplicable that the administration will not knowledge that. likewise, our hearts were broken when 21 coptic christians in egypt were beheaded by isis. once again, the white house put out a statement saying, those 21 lost their lives because of their egyptian citizenship. that was not why they were beheaded. they were beheaded because they were christians. as pope francis powerfully said, their blood confesses jesus christ. [applause] senator cruz: the next 20 months
are going to be a dangerous time. the next 20 months are going to be a hobbsean state of nature, going to be like "lord of the flies." january 2017 is coming. [applause] senator cruz: 20 months from now, imagine a commander in chief who stands up with utter clarity and says, we will destroy radical islamic terror. [applause] senator cruz: imagine a president who stands with our allies, whether it is the u.k. or france, and we all remember a few months ago seeing over 40 world leaders walking arm in arm in solidarity with france
against radical islamic terrorism, and where oh where oh where was the united states of america? you know, if only the terrorists attacked a golf course. [laughter] senator cruz: that might actually get the white house's attention. holy cow, this is serious! imagine a president in 2017 who says, we will stand with our friend and ally, the nation of canada, and we will finally build the keystone pipeline. [applause] senator cruz: instead of a president who boycotts prime minister netanyahu, imagine america standing unapologetically alongside the nation of israel. [applause] senator cruz: and the single
greatest national security threat facing america today is the threat of a nuclear iran. this deal the president is pushing forward is a terrible deal. it is a historic mistake. and any candidate for president who is fit to be commander in chief must be prepared in 2017 to repudiate any deal that undermines american national security. [applause] senator cruz: it is unacceptable and profoundly dangerous for a nation whose leaders lead the people in chants of "death of america." by the way, that is a holiday in iran.
we have christmas and thanksgiving. there every year they celebrate death to america today. it is the anniversary of iran taking americans hostage. the supreme leader does out to the masses and together they ch ant death to america. if history teaches any principle, it is that if somebody tells you they want to kill you, believe them. [laughter senator cruz: a few weeks ago i was proud to join with 46 other leaders signing a letter to the nation of iran. [applause] senator cruz: one of those senators was new hampshire's very own senator kelly ayotte. governor walker: -- [applause] senator cruz: i am amused the far left thinks it's a campaign issue to use against kelly.
good gosh, kelly stood against iran getting nukes. i would encourage them, run with that idea. that is going to be a terrific campaign issue. shortly thereafter i want on msnbc. morning joe. they were kind of slightly upset , apoplectic, much like the white house, why did you sign this letter? do you regret signing this letter? this is a letter that explained that under our constitution there are two ways that something becomes a law in the united states of america. either you have a treaty signed by the president ratified by two thirds of the senate, or you have a law that passes both houses of congress and is signed into law by the president. if you do neither of those, it ain't a law. [applause]
senator cruz: now iran's foreign minister responded and said, you do not understand. under international law, a head of state has the authority to find his nation forever and -- to bind his nation forever and in perpetuity on any issue he wishes. if someone in iran disagrees with the edicts of the supreme leader, they will take you and shoot you. but one of the great blessings of the united states of america is we don't have a supreme leader in this nation. [applause] senator cruz: when they asked if i regretted if i signed the letter, my response was that i
said my only regret is that i did not make my signature bigger. so the ayatollah can read it without his reading glasses. i am so grateful to be back with each and every one of you. it was 58 years ago that my father fled cuba. he had been imprisoned, he had been tortured. when he came to america, he could not speak english. he was a teenager, he was 18 years old. he was washing dishes making $.50 an hour. and he was filled with hopes and dreams. the same hopes and dreams that everyone of us, everyone of our parents, every one of our grandparents had and have. that is the miracle of america. that no nation in the history of the world is allowed so many millions of people to come with nothing and achieve anything. and it is why we will turn this country around.
if you look at the fundamental dna of americans, we are all the children of those who risked everything for freedom. when i was a kid, my dad used to ask me over and over again, when we faced oppression in cuba, i had a place to flee to. if we lose our freedom here, where do we go? that is why the men and women are gathered here today, because not a one of us is prepared to lose our freedom. we are standing in defense of liberty, the constitution, in defense of america. [applause] senator cruz: and with that i'm happy to answer any question you like. in the back.
>> thank you very much, senator. as you know, there will be a vote coming up shortly for a new attorney general. and i would like to know if you can tell us what your vote will be for or against loretta lynch. senator cruz: sir, thank you for that question. my vote on loretta lynch is going to be unambiguously no. [applause] senator cruz: and let me tell you why very briefly. i sit on the senate judiciary committee.
i took a very active part in ms. lynch's confirmation. when she was nominated, to be honest, i very much wanted to support the nomination. eric holder has been the most partisan, attorney general in the history of our country. and yet as ms. lynch sat through her confirmation hearings, i asked over and over again, number one, if she would support the president's illegal and unconstitutional executive amnesty. she said absolutely yes. i asked if there were any limits to this executive amnesty, could the president of united states grant amnesty not just to the 4 million people he has granted amnesty to, but to all 12 million people living illegally in this country. she refused to answer that question. she refused to acknowledge any limits on the president's authority. i posted little harder. -- i'd put a little harder -- i pushed a little harder.
i said, could the president -- your theory facing all of this is prosecutorial discretion, the president could decline to prosecute laws. i said, could the next president instruct his or her treasury secretary under the theory of prosecutorial discretion, we will no longer collect any taxes in this country above 25%? she refused to answer this question. now look, i think that is great policy, but the way to pass it is pass it through congress and make it a law. [applause] senator cruz: and i tried to go even further. i tried to come up with what was an absurd hypothetical. sitting next to me in the judiciary committee with my colleague john cornyn from texas. i said, imagine, ms. lynch, in 2017 president john cornyn. could that president using prosecutorial discretion announced that the announced that -- announce that the
federal government will no longer enforced any federal environmental laws or any federal labor laws against any citizen of the state of texas? she refused to answer that question. in my view, when you have an attorney general nominee who looks at the united states senate and says he or she will not enforce any constitutional limits whatsoever on the power of the president, there is no way in good conscience and consistent with your oath to confirm surgery nominated. >> last question, because a young couple is getting married at 5:00 in this room. senator cruz: wonderful. >> senator, if you were sitting in the white house right now what specifically would you do in order to deal with the islamic threat throughout the middle east, islamic state specifically?
senator cruz: yes, a terrific question, what would i do in the white house right now to deal with isis. we need a clear eyed commander in chief who sets the objective is not to weaken, not to degrade isis. it is to utterly and completely destroy isis. [applause] senator cruz: they are the face of evil. they are crucifying children beheading christians, lighting men and women on fire in cages. no when you set -- now when you set that clear objective militarily, what would be required? we should be using overwhelming airpower directed at taking out isis in every location. [applause] senator cruz: number two, we should be arming the kurds. [applause] senator cruz: the kurds have long been our allies. they are on the ground. the peshmerga, fighting forces
for the kurds, are effective soldiers. they are right now fighting isis right now today, and they are hopelessly outclassed in their weapons. because isis is using american military equipment they seized in iraq and the obama administration refused to fund the kurds and sends weaponry to baghdad that won't pass it onto the kurds. now there's a debate going on right now. about boots on the ground. now my view at the outset is any military conflict, particularly extended military conflict should begin with a congressional authorization or a declaration of war. [applause] senator cruz: on the question of boots on the ground, i don't think that should be decided by bunch of politicians in washington posturing one way or another for political effect. it should be driven by the military necessities of accomplishing the goal of destroying isis.
so based on the advice i have received from senior military leaders, the peshmerga on the ground armed effectively with overwhelming military force and perhaps some embedded u.s. special forces can at least begin to carry out that path. -- that task. what is missing -- but me -- let me describe an exchange i had with the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff last year. i said, if the objective were to destroy isis in 90 days, militarily what would be required? and he said, i'm sorry, that's impossible. that cannot be accomplished. i said, ok, general dempsey, but perhaps that timeframe is unrealistic. you tell me about. -- you tell me event. -- you told me event. -- you tell me then.
in what time frame can we destroy isis and what would be required to do so? his answer was, there is no military solution to this problem. the answer is to change the underlying conditions on the ground so people are not susceptible to being radicalized through poverty. with all respect, there is a word for that, and i will clean it up for c-span and say it is nonsense. [applause] senator cruz: the way to defeat isis is not expanded medicaid through iraq. you to defeat isis -- the way to defeat isis is a simple and clear military objective that the soldiers waging war on america, we will destroy them. [applause] senator cruz: and i will make one final point in terms of what we need to